Mechanical Insights: Shaping the Future of Museum Collection Preservation | November 12-15, 2024

International symposium at the Getty Conservation Institute
Call for abstracts | Deadline on May 27, 2024

This symposium, which will be held at the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, from November 12 to 15, brings together an international group of experts in the mechanical characterization of historic and artist’ materials to discuss current and future trends in the study and preservation of museum collections. A forum will be created to discuss how mechanical research can inform decision-making in the management of museum environments, practical conservation, and the transportation of art objects.


Slowing or preventing physical changes in art objects is a fundamental and challenging aim for collection preservation. Scientific research is critical in understanding and quantifying processes that can affect collections, including temperature-and humidity-induced strain, shock and vibration, material fatigue, damage by exposure to light and ultraviolet, and chemical interactions with pollutants. Knowledge of such processes will better inform appropriate object conservation strategies.

In the absence of this information and data, it is common in the museum community to adopt a “risk averse” approach, which can lead to adherence to stringent procedures and environmental conditions that can be prohibitively expensive, unsustainable, and significantly limit access to objects.

Over the past decade, research has collected detailed material data to understand physical behaviour, support the modelling of failure mechanisms, and identify the critical conditions that lead to the physical change of museum objects.

Several scientific groups have focused on developing data-based predictive tools that reflect the nuances of these degradation models. These tools enable practitioners to select materials and construction types and define an object’s state of conservation. The relevance of such tools depends on the implementation of effective validation procedures.

Discussion Topics

  • Laboratory testing of historical and mock-up samples to inform predictive models
  • Analyzing the risks to objects under external loads or subject to unstable climatic conditions
  • Validation of predictive models through in situ monitoring, case studies, and field campaigns
  • New and emerging technologies for mechanical testing and analysis of physical changes in cultural heritage materials
  • Development of data-based tools for predicting physical change to art objects
  • Development of knowledge-based strategies for environmental management

The call for abstract submissions is now open for poster and oral communications.

  • Deadline for submission: May 27, 2024
  • Notification of acceptance: June 17, 2024

Registration will open June 3, 2024, and will be available via the online form on the symposium website.

For further information and how to submit, visit

For any questions, please contact

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